MadSci Network: Earth Sciences
Query:

Re: Why don't we feel the plates shifting?

Date: Wed Apr 26 21:56:11 2006
Posted By: David Dunbar, Staff, Geophysics, GeoCenter, Inc.
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1141051841.Es
Message:

Briana,

If you were in an elevator moving as far every minute as the fastest plate moves in a year (about 10 cm), you would think you were stuck. You would be. It would take you 30 to 40 minutes to reach the next floor.

Unless the elevator had a window or was scraping against something or hit something, you would have no clue that you were moving. This is pretty much the case with plates. Far away from the edges you arenít going to see relative motion. Near the edges, plates can scrape or collide with other plates. This is what causes a lot of earthquakes.

I found a couple of web sites you may want to see:

Tectonic Plate Motion

This Dynamic Planet

This Dynamic Earth (PDF file)

David


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